Heart attack victims don’t always have warning signs. In fact, over half the men who die from it have no idea they have a cardiac problem. Few people know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for all men of all races. The statistics for women aren’t much better. It is the number one cause of death, and nearly 65% die suddenly without ever experiencing any symptoms. A couple of hours of waiting are often the difference between life and death.
The best way to prevent heart problems is to know the risk factors. The only way to ascertain heart health is through precise testing conducted by cardiovascular services. Granted the symptoms could be deceptive, such as a jaw ache, cold sweats, or nausea. These are critical indicators that most people will ignore. Other signs are just as precarious like severe heartburn, extreme fatigue or swelling extremities are often “watched” for a while before seeking medical help. Cardiovascular services perform diagnostic examinations to provide an accurate representation of the hearts current condition.
An EKG can tell a cardiologist if there is a conduction problem, if a calcium or potassium level is off balance, and if the patient had a previous heart attack and in which part of the heart it occurred. This is a simple, non-invasive procedure.
If a person complains of chest heaviness or a dull pain after exercise or during stress, the physician may suggest a cardiac stress test. There are several versions of this test currently in use. A stress test measures how well the heart muscle works with an increased heart rate. Some of the most common scenarios to increase the rate are a fast bike ride, a healthy run on a treadmill, or the administration of medications. This exam takes a little time but is non-invasive except for the injection.
Nuclear testing is frequently done in conjunction with stress tests to provide an image of the blood flowing to the heart muscle. These test results can indicate an abnormality that demands further investigation. Narrowing of coronary vessels or even a complete blockage can be discovered and treated quickly to prevent heart damage.
Under certain circumstances, a cardiac catheterization may need to be done immediately as a life-preserving measure. However, it is far better to have one performed to prevent emergencies. This is an invasive procedure that can have complications, although they are rare.
When cardiovascular services perform a cardiac catheterization, it provides a massive amount of visual data that demonstrates how well the heart muscles and valves are working. It is one of the best ways to diagnose early coronary artery disease. The images also reveal stiffening of the heart chambers and any reduction or interruption in blood flow.
These examinations determine if a patient needs to make significant lifestyle changes or if they should seek further medical attention. The results allow the physician to formulate a plan to limit the risks for heart disease and strokes.